Local Legal Protections on Trulia. Credit: Trulia

Trulia already shows homes’ school districts and amenities. Now the real estate search platform is presenting an often more important piece of information alongside that data: legal housing and employment protections for LGBT people.

A group of employees at Trulia developed the feature at an internal hackathon. The feature takes data gathered by the nonprofit Movement and Advancement Project to show what state, county and city protections exist at a specific address.

“It challenges how we think about what’s important when you choose a place to live,” Trulia general manager Tim Correia told Inman.

Bringing information about LGBT protections to Trulia came first since this was an employee-led initiative and it relied on data gathered by an outside organization. Without federal LGBT legal protections, gathering fragmented state and local data is especially challenging. Twenty-two states plus Washington, D.C. have full legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity across housing, employment and public accommodations.

But with this feature off the ground, Trulia is also working toward figuring out how to provide information on legal protections for other protected classes, including local protections based on veteran and immigration status.

“We’re still in exploration for other categories out there,” Correia said. “It’s much like a decade ago when listings were fragmented. How can you bring the information to consumers to make the right decision?”

Trulia has already found some use cases where this feature has been particularly useful. Around Cincinnati, where the metro area encompasses Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, different addresses come with very different legal protections. Trulia hopes including this information will help customers in markets with similar situations navigate buying a home.

“Choosing a home is one of the most significant decisions in people’s lives,” Movement and Advancement Project executive director Ineke Mushovic said in a statement. “For many, a primary consideration isn’t just the house, but whether they will be moving to a neighborhood where they are protected and feel supported. This groundbreaking feature will help LGBT people look not only for the right home, but also the right community.”

Trulia is a subsidiary of Zillow Group. No word yet on whether the feature will make its way to Zillow’s home search or StreetEasy, another Zillow subsidiary.

Email Emma Hinchliffe

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